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Business & School Relationships

Untapped Potential In Business And School Relationships

“Some good beginnings have been made but a huge potential remains untapped” says City of Manukau Education Trust Chairperson Stuart Middleton, in releasing the results of a research study of school business links in Manukau City.

“We know that such links are a valuable means of strengthening the transition from school to work for many students and this study gives a valuable picture of what is currently happening and a useful guide as to where our energies can be directed.”

The research was undertaken by the University of Auckland on behalf of COMET and details both the range of such relationships and gives detailed case studies of some of the more successful partnerships. The results are published in a booklet to be launched today (Tuesday) by the Associate Minister of Education, the Hon Steve Maharey at Manukau City Council.

At the launch the Mayor of Manukau City, Sir Barry Curtis said that today we have a ‘wero’ or ‘challenge’ in front of our community – to make the relationship between businesses and schools stronger and to help our schools make learning linked to the workplace and the future. COMET and Manukau City Council, who funded the research, are proud to be part of making it happen.

Stuart Middleton outlined the importance of school/business links to the work of the Trust. ”As one of our five key strategic directions, the Trust project Te Wero – The Challenge aims to establish and maintain 60 (sixty) quality relationships between schools and business this year.” The Trust has a full-time co-ordinator working on the project, and currently there are 13 active partnerships, and around 10 developing partnerships.

The research report notes that, while possibly up to half of Manukau schools have some form of business link, very few of them would meet quality criteria for partnership building. The most common form of link was some form of sponsorship and/or cash grant. Some of the schools with links are only able to identify loyalty programme donations (such as programmes operated by Telecom and Clear) as their link with business.

The report identified the importance of regular communications between schools and business, the need for careful planning, and the “people” element as important in building relationships. But most critically, both schools and businesses need to benefit from the relationship.

“It is vital that the community sees education and business working in partnership to produce the highest possible achievement for our young people,” says Stuart Middleton.



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